I have heard people complain about the registration fees for races, especially those longer than 10 miles which can easily cost over $100. Although I certainly don’t like shelling out so much money just to run, I definitely understand the fees. Allow me to illustrate the need for such high registration costs by pointing out a few things about the race I ran this weekend that started at $40 and went up to only $60 as race day approached.
1. Bathrooms? Who needs port-a-potties? The only place to take a quick bathroom break was the start and finish line. Luckily, I have never needed to stop and go during a race of any length, but unluckily several of my fellow racers yesterday were not so good at holding it. I had to watch far too many people, men and women, peeing along the side of the course. And some were not concerned about being discreet. Wonder how the course smells today…
2. You’re not thirsty, are you? Again, I am fortunate that I train without water or gel and was able to power through and wait til the end to rehydrate because this race was not concerned about keeping you hydrated. There were a couple places to grab a drink — maybe 4 or 5 water stops and 1 Gatorade — but no gels.
3. Safety? What’s that? Along the course there was very little support of any kind. I saw only one place where medical could have seen you and I saw several spots where older runners were sitting down on the sidewalk, struggling. There was no one I could tell that these runners might need help. And the biggest safety risk that is also one of the biggest costs of races? The roads were not closed! We were running with traffic, angry, pissed off traffic. There were times when cars were even crossing the course and runners had to stop and wait for cars to pass: not a problem on your training run, but not something you are apt to look out for during a race.
So if you are okay with no bathrooms, minimal hydration and no concern for your safety, then by all means, complain away about paying so much for a race. Otherwise, try to understand where the costs are coming from and how much work goes into putting together a safe, fun race.